Writer of Horror Fiction

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New Zombie Anthology with yours truly in it coming soon: Zombies Galore!

Several years ago a good friend of mine over at the now defunct Library of the Living Dead Press was looking to create survival guide that would be chock full of semi-serious and totally comedic advice on surviving the zombie apocalypse.  I decided that it would be my responsibility to create a guide that would be the end all of self-help zombie slaying manuals.  So in plagaristic fashion, I decided to swipe from one of the best known self-help guides available to create my very own “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Zombie Slayers” replete with cited examples of said successful zombie slayers personal tales of victory over the undead.  This wasn’t so much a short story as a down and dirty guide to not only zombie slaughter, but how to live high on the hog during the apocalypse.

Unfortunately, the tome that this wondrous guide was supposed to be a part of never was published and as such my guide book sat dormant for several years.  Then some other good friends of mine who had published “Zombies Gone Wild” (which one of my shorts of a more comical sort appeared in entitled “What’s Eating You?” about zombies with eating disorders) wanted to create a follow up to that delightful little anthology.  Unfortunately, that particular antho was shelved as well, leading me to believe that fate, or some giant zombie loving super being was doing their super mightiest to prevent my guide from ever seeing the light of day.

But fear not!  “Zombies Gone Wild, Part 2″ has been transformed into “Zombies Galore” and is being published by Nightwatch Press.  In fact, it is getting a big unveiling on August 30th.  Now I can’t attend this unveiling, but rest assured that I will be sharing more information on where you can find this delightful book that will be filled with my helpful guide as well as many other exciting tales of zombie gore and glamour.  So stay tuned.  But for now, check out this announcement to whet your appetite:   http://exlibrislarsen.com/2014/08/20/zombies-galore-anthology-launch-set-for-august-30-in-walsall/

Review of Matheus Macedo’s “We With Daisies Lie”

We With Daisies Lie is a short story/novella about one man’s journey during the first few days and months of the zombie apocalypse.  Told in first person, it sticks with tradition, bringing nothing new to the table as far as the undead are concerned.  Whether you get bit or not, when you die you turn and the undead are slow moving.  The main character meets up almost immediately after the dead start to turn with a group of three younger kids led by a bully.  They search for places to survive and they overcome several incidents with the dead while dealing with turmoil within the group.  The living continue to be a major threat later in the story as the character grows stronger and more equipped to handle himself with the undead.  With new friends in tow, he tries to lead them to his grandparent’s farm and the fallout shelter they had made during the cold war, which is filled with enough supplies to last them several months.

The author makes a solid attempt at developing his small group of characters, though the length of this tale does limit most of them from being more than archetypes.  The main character and Emily, the girl he grows attached to, are the most fleshed out.  There were some good components to this tale, including the brief conversation the main character has with an ex-girlfriend on the phone after things go haywire.  She is surrounded by the undead in her sky rise apartment in New York City with no way to escape.  The blunt suggestion the main character makes was startling but at the same time made all the sense in the world.  Emily’s work on a poem was a nice touch as well.  There was also something that stretched believability related to an incident surrounding a stab wound to the gut.  I won’t provide further details, but suffice it to say it was a stretch buying what happens.  Otherwise, the story is a pretty straightforward analysis of how people cope with unbelievably horrible circumstances and what they must become to survive.  There were some typos and missed words here and there-the story could have done with another editing run through, but overall, it is a quick read with definite entertainment value.  The author shows solid promise here and I look forward to checking out his other works.

We With Daisies Lie can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/We-Daisies-Lie-Matheus-Macedo-ebook/dp/B00M4M32IY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408377720&sr=8-1&keywords=we+with+daisies+lie

Review of Stephen Kozeniewski’s “Billy and the Cloneasaurus”

 Billy and the Clonesaurus tells the tale of William 790-6, a clone who lives in a town filled with other William clones, in a world filled with even more William clones.  As with every other William clone, he is to be slurried, or decommissioned, on his first birthday, and replaced by the next iteration.  When an accident happens at the slurrying plant with William 789 and 790 is given another day to live, he spends it with his replacement and starts to resent the idea of his imminent departure.  Happenstance allows him to once again escape being decommissioned when his new iteration is tossed into the ‘whirling blades of death’ that are used to slurry clones instead of him and he is free to live for another year.  But Will, as he and every other clone call each other, finds himself a bit more curious than the average Will about the world surrounding him and the reasons every other Will does what they do for the corporation that controls everything.  790 sells dental insurance, and every other Will does everything necessary to make life possible for everyone else in town.  There are Wills who pick up the trash, there are Wills who run the gas stations, etc.  They hang out in their off hours drinking the same beer in the same pubs, watching the same Rugby games every weekend.  They are all the same level of docile worker doing whatever needs to be done to make the company profitable, and they have no reason to question why there are no animals and no one else left on the planet but other Wills, like themselves.  But 790 is starting to get curious, and after hearing another Will talk about a delivery run to another town and spotting something off in the distance on the side of the road that looks like a windmill, he feels the urge to check out this anomaly and see what is going on beyond his guarded, safe existence.  This leads 790 on a journey of self-discovery-learning why clones exist, why it appears that the exact same events are reported on at the same time every year, and what might have come before they came into existence.

Billy and the Clonesaurus is a dark comedy that tasted a bit like the movie Brazil in its own demented way.  It is grim future that 790 lives in, and as William 790 starts to call himself Billy as a form of minor rebellion against the status quo, he begins to realize the depths of the mystery surrounding him and the rest of the Wills of the world, or so he believes.  Escaping the town he lives in is only the beginning.  Beyond that, he has several shocking revelations and dreams of something better…something approaching freedom, not only for himself, but for every other William. 

While it may be hard not to laugh at the idea of such an obscene world, the thoughts of something like this occurring are also cringe-worthy and provide for good nightmare fuel.  As more layers of the deceit that have been heaped on 790 and the rest of the clones are peeled back, there are plenty of reasons to feel both revulsion and depression, because while the world that Billy lives in is filled with clones, the depths of the depravity he faces is very much a human characteristic. 

I’ve read the authors other works, both of which dealt with the undead.  While this story shares little with those other books, it has the same razor sharp edges to it that don’t show very much remorse when you get cut by them.  This is a trip into the Twilight Zone with a nod to the Simpsons with the story’s title.  It’s probably not a tale easily digested by everyone, but one worth checking out if you like your futures grim, dark, and yet surreal and just a tad bit looney. 

 Billy and the Clonesaurus can be found here:    http://www.amazon.com/Billy-And-Cloneasaurus-Stephen-Kozeniewski/dp/192504789X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

Review of Jack Icefloe Jackson’s “Romance For Men: Pandora’s Box”

Romance For Men: Pandora’s Box introduces the reader to the author and main character, Jack Icefloe Jackson, who is, without a doubt, one of the most vile, depraved, wretched human beings ever to exist on this planet.  He is also irremediably raunchy, sleazy, and worse than the worse excrement to ever walk upright.  With that said, this story of his exploits is satire at its most debase and hilarious.  Not meant for the squeamish or anyone with taste, this book explores Jack’s adventures as a newly assigned agent for the United States Government responsible for saving the world.  You see, Jack has a unique set of skills that no man has ever had in the history of the universe.  Jack is short, fat, bald, and gross.  He also has a penchant for throwing dynamite at anyone who annoys him.  All this plus the fact that he treats every woman as nothing better than a resting place for one of his, uh, appendages, makes him scum.  But his seemingly unnatural talents makes him the one person who can unlock the code to Pandora’s Box, which threatens to destroy the world if left unsatisfied.

Yep, I managed to avoid actually saying anything too offensive in the above paragraph that is even remotely on par with the graphic nature of this book.  So let me be clear.  This book is sick, disgusting, and with the right frame of mind, hilarious.  Jack is a parody of a parody of the concept of men as pigs.  This is satire mixed with sarcasm mushed together with huge dollops of parody.  Read it with this in mind and you may survive the reading, though chances are you won’t make it out unscarred.  You might go blind too, or at the very least suffer from a rash that even the strongest penicillin won’t be able to get rid of.  

This is a quick read, laugh out loud funny, although you will probably be far too embarrassed to do so anywhere near anyone of the female persuasion.  Letting a woman you love or even remotely care about know you are reading this book might get you banished from nooky-land for the rest of eternity.  So my friends, tread carefully when you read this tome of wondrous knowledge.  Oh, and make sure you wash your hands after you do so, because you are gonna feel dirty after touching this book…even if you get it on the kindle.  You may have to sterilize the device to get it to work again properly.

Romance For Men: Pandora’s Box can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Romance-For-Men-Pandoras-Volume/dp/0990381315/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1407946592&sr=8-1

Review of Jonathan Moon’s “Hollow Mountain Dead”

Hollow Mountain Dead is not Jonathan Moon’s first foray into the cross-genre mix of western and undead fiction, though I believe it is his first full-fledged novel on the subject.  He had a book filled with varied short stories along with a novella that took place in the old west that was a rollicking good horror story, but I can’t quite recall what the name of that book was, though I am certain I reviewed it somewhere back in the mists of time.

Mr. Moon has created quite a few different horror tales as well as dipping into bizzarro and other speculative genres.  This story, along with his past story that takes place in the mythical American old west, have a taste of harsh reality to them.  The darkness isn’t just within the monsters that pour forth from the gaping hole in the side of a mountain, it is embedded in most of the characters we are exposed to-even in the ones who do their best to become heroic when hell comes for a visit.  Only a select few seem redeemable here, though it is clear that most are as human as their harsh environment allows them to be.

A greedy, powerful mining magnate has cracked open a mountain with his crew of toughs and army of Chinese immigrant workers who are treated like slaves.  When he digs too deep, an old Indian warns him to stop and turn back, but greed casts a powerful spell on him and that is when, literally, all hell breaks loose.  A seeping gas bellowing out from seams within the earth turn those who are exposed to it into flesh eating monsters.  But this is not the only menace, because there is something further beneath the earth that is reaching out to those on the mountain, corrupting and luring them into evil.

The undead spread, wiping out a homestead and heading toward one of the two towns that sit on the mountainside while the few who managed to escape wave after wave of undead flee the mining camp.  Members of the Madoosk tribe have been tasked with stopping the evil have been preparing for it for ages and are ready for it, but they never expected hundreds of miners would get infected or that the plague with spread so fast.

The story moves at a fast pace and there are a multitude of characters.  While there are some flashbacks, much of the story is told with the urgency of present tense.  The undead are somewhat traditional in their tactics and how they spread, though the supernatural bent here brings some new elements to the table, including new ways to kill the undead that the Madoosk reveal.

As I mentioned, there are a great many characters on display, though that narrows to the select few who are tasked with defeating the undead after the first few waves of carnage pass.  There is plenty of gore for those who love that aspect of the zombie genre.  The feel of the old west is palpable on each page.  Many characters die, both throwaway and those more central to the plot, most in very brutal ways.  Again, there probably only a select few characters that most people will like or identify with because of who they were prior to the undead invasion, though a small few will grow on you.  Historically, Mr. Moon has been pretty relentless with his horror fiction, with no apologies for the slaughter and sprays of blood and gristle that oozes and spills forth from his pages.  This book is no exception to that rule.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.

In the end, a door is left open for more Hollow Mountain Dead with the ending of this tale.  This book was brutal, relentless, and vicious, and I am looking forward to checking out what comes next.

Hollow Mountain Dead can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Hollow-Mountain-Dead-Jonathan-Moon-ebook/dp/B00LLPU8YG/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1407427523

Review of Dean Giles “Alien Apocalypse Payback”

Alien Apocalypse: Payback concludes the three short story/novella arc of the Alien Apocalypse serial.  Leon Weber has faced down the alien enemy and figured out its weakness, has saved his son and discovered that not all of the alien’s offspring are inherently evil.  With a desperate plan in mind, he wants to defeat the alien once and for all, or die trying.

Like the other installments in this tale, the odds are stacked against the slim bits of humanity that still remain, especially as the alien entity continues to evolve and works at creating genetic mutations to do its bidding and find the few humans remaining so it can feed.  But Leon has discovered one of its very few weaknesses and has a slim chance to exploit it.

This was a satisfying series.  The author has created a rollicking science fiction tale that is dark and filled with despair and yet could easily be translated into a good old fashion alien invasion movie for the masses.  It was a fun and easy read and I would recommend checking out all three installments since all three are fairly cheap on the kindle and are a fun, if quick, ride.

Alien Apocalypse: Payback can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Alien-Apocalypse-Payback-Dean-Giles-ebook/dp/B00LBEQ7EW/ref=la_B005AQTGUY_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406760050&sr=1-9

Review of Lee Brait’s “Oil To Ashes 1: Picnic”

Oil To Ashes 1: Picnic is a short story that I picked up free for the kindle.  Set in the not-so-distant future, we are introduced to Linc Freemore, who works for a company dedicated to the war effort.  A war that appears to be occurring between the United States (or perhaps, more generically, the “West”) and the oil rich countries of the Middle East.  The U.S. is actually being bombed in this war and gas has reached around $10 a gallon.  Linc is just trying to finish a project so he can get a day off, but his day starts off dealing with some gang violence and saving some school children who are almost ran over by a runaway car that was shot up.  Gangs have grown more courageous and willing to assault just about anyone, and later that same day Linc discovers that first hand when he comes to the rescue of a girl on a rural road who is being chased on foot by another biker gang.  Linc’s cowardly coworker flees, forcing him to take action and improvise ways to keep the girl safe and to stay alive.

The story is short, sweet, and to the point.  Better yet, it was a free introduction to the Linc Freemore saga and it appears that the second short story is also available via the kindle.

This short tale was a fun introduction that can somewhat stand on its own, though the author made sure to give you reason to want to check out what is next.  Linc is probably more than what he appears to be given his willingness to jump into a fight and become the hero.  A simple corporate schmo he is not.  The bits and pieces of the near-apocalyptic world the author has created is interesting and fairly plausible, which in some ways makes this story somewhat tantalizing.  A precursor to the world of Mad Max and company, where fuel is rapidly disappearing along with civility, law, and order?  Perhaps.

Oil To Ashes 1: Picnic can still be (at this time) picked up for free at http://www.amazon.com/Oil-Ashes-Freemore-Apocalyptic-Science-ebook/dp/B00F6KB7I8/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406757781&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=oilt+to+ashes

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